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Mark Sutton
County Councillor Mark Sutton, pictured, describes Ofsted's overall rating of Staffordshire's children's social services as 'Good' as a "great achievement".

Children’s services reach out to more families

A reorganisation of Staffordshire’s children centres has delivered on its key promise of helping more vulnerable families.

New figures show the percentage of vulnerable children aged 0-to-five being helped in the county has increased over three years from 48 per cent to 76 per cent.

At the same time the percentage of five-year-olds classed as ‘school ready’ – having a wide range of social and practical skills needed to prosper in the classroom – stands at 75 per cent.

Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said:

We promised in 2014 that we wanted to take services to the people who needed them most, to be delivered where they were, because we simply weren’t reaching enough of the families who needed help the most.

We’re reaching thousands more children now and it’s clear that it’s making a real difference: in recent years the ‘school ready’ statistic has risen from 54 per cent to 75 per cent.

Thanks to the work of professionals, charities and volunteers at our 11 children’s centres and out in the communities, children are getting a better start in life and turning up for school ready and able to take advantage of the educational opportunities available.”

Figures contained in a report to be considered by Staffordshire County Council’s all-party Safe and Strong Communities committee next week show that successfully targeting those in most need of help has also increased the overall take-up of services among 0-to-five-year-olds from  42 per cent in 2014/15 to 62.7 per cent in 2016/17.

Mark Sutton added:

Successfully targeting the most disadvantaged children in Staffordshire reduces inequalities in a child’s development at a critical time and then improves their chances of using education to improve their opportunities.

There’s clearly more work to be done but I am confident we’re heading in the right direction, by delivering the appropriate amount of help in a targeted fashion in children’s centres, in the community, or in the home.

Some parents need a great deal of help, while others need very little support. The intention is to offer the right degree of help to every family, so whether it’s providing information or something more complex and sustained we will be able to make a difference in many more children’s lives.”